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Language from the FY 2013 House Ag Appropriations Bill Detailing the The "Farmer Assurance Provision" AKA the Monsanto Protection Act

Submitted by Food Democracy Now on June 29, 2012 - 7:47am

Earlier this week, Food Democracy Now! sent out an urgent alert calling on farmers and citizens across the country to stand up for our basic democratic rights and to help stop Congress from attaching a dangerous policy provision in the FY 2013 House Appropriations Bill. As we reported, the House was expected to vote this week, but that vote has now been delayed until after the July 4th recess.

Please join more than 30,000 Food Democracy Now! members to stop what we're calling the Monsanto Protection Act, which fundamentally undermines the concept of judicial review and would strip judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, consumers and the environment.

Below is the language from the "Farmer Assurance Provision", Section 733 of the FY 2013 House Ag Appropriation's bill:

H.R. 5973: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013  (The "Farmer Assurance Provision" AKA Monsanto Protection Act)

Sec. 733. In the event that a determination of non-regulated status made pursuant to section 411 of the Plant Protection Act is or has been invalidated or vacated, the Secretary of Agriculture shall, notwithstanding any other provision of law, upon request by a farmer, grower, farm operator, or producer, immediately grant temporary permit(s) or temporary deregulation in part, subject to necessary and appropriate conditions consistent with section 411(a) or 412(c) of the Plant Protection Act, which interim conditions shall authorize the movement, introduction, continued cultivation, commercialization and other specifically enumerated activities and requirements, including measures designed to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects, if any, relevant to the Secretary’s evaluation of the petition for non-regulated status, while ensuring that growers or other users are able to move, plant, cultivate, introduce into commerce and carry out other authorized activities in a timely manner: Provided, That all such conditions shall be applicable only for the interim period necessary for the Secretary to complete any required analyses or consultations related to the petition for non-regulated status: Provided further, That nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the Secretary’s authority under section 411, 412 and 414 of the Plant Protection Act.

According to legal advocates at the Center for Food Safety, this provision “would create a precedent-setting limitation on judicial review” and is a “dangerous assault on fundamental federal and judicial safeguards”.

This current rider is a response to the successful lawsuits that have prevented the sale, distribution and cultivation of GMO sugar beets and GMO alfalfa, both of which were stopped from being planted while the USDA finalized full environmental reviews. But once again, Monsanto and the biotech industry are working behind the scenes to shred vital legal rights simply so they can make endless profits.

If allowed to pass, the Monsanto Protection Act would

  • Violate the constitutional precedent of separation of powers by interfering with the process of judicial review.
  • Eliminate federal agency oversight to protect farmers, consumers and the environment from potential harms caused by unapproved biotech crops.
  • Allow Monsanto and biotech seed and chemical companies to profit by overriding the rule of law and plant their untested GMO crops despite no proof of their safety for the public and environment.
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